Senate on the Polarized Express with NDAA

December 2, 2021

There's only one December flurry that's bigger than the snow in D.C. -- and that's the rush to pass the NDAA. The National Defense Authorization Act has been the one constant in a city where consensus is rarer than a Santa sighting. The military's spending bill passes so reliably that it hasn't missed a year since West Side Story was in the theaters, and gas cost 27 cents a gallon! But that 60-year streak is on the line right now, and there's no one to blame but radical Democrats.

The two sides were already at odds over plenty of things in the legislation, but the negotiations hit another wall on Wednesday night when Senator Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) decided to go to the mat over the Uyghur torture in China. Like most of the amendments on the table, Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) refuses to give the Republicans a vote. His minority counterpart, Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.), has been complaining about that stonewalling for days. "The Democratic Leader wants to block the Senate from fully and robustly debating a number of important issues -- from how to manage the fallout from the reckless Afghanistan retreat to how to respond to China's dramatic and destabilizing military modernization to how to restore deterrence against an emboldened Iran," he argued.

The last straw, at least for Rubio, was the Left's refusal to lift a finger on the Uyghurs -- a genocide that everyone in the world seems to care about except top Democrats. (Climate negotiator -- and former secretary of State -- John Kerry stunned everyone when he went so far as to say that their persecution wasn't "in his lane.") He, like a lot of Democrats, has been quietly fighting to kill the issue for months -- worried it will hurt their relationships with Chinese communists or jeopardize a climate change deal. From President Biden on down, the message has been that Americans need to play nice with China so that they can grease the wheels on absurd priorities like the Green New Deal.

The Florida senator has had enough of "playing nice," and thinks it's time for the United States to actually live up to its name on international human rights. And he's decided to hold the defense bill hostage until the Democrats grow a conscience on the issue and act.

Wednesday, on the Senate floor, he called his Leftist colleagues on the carpet for trying to sabotage the Uyghur Forced Labor Prevention Act -- a bill he'd included as an NDAA amendment.

"We've all heard the stories right in China and the Xinjiang province, where Uyghur Muslims are taken from their homes, from their families, they're forced to work in these factories as slaves. They're forced to renounce their religion, change their name for sterilization, forced abortions. It's been characterized rightfully so as genocide. So I filed a bill bipartisan support, and this bill says that any product that's made in a factory in that part of China has a presumption that it's made by slaves. And it passed the Senate unanimously. It's sitting over in the House. So I'm trying to get it here as an amendment on this bill."

... [The House's objections] are insignificant, really. This is about the fact that they don't want this bill to pass over in the House. And I understand why. Listen, there's some big companies out there -- some very big companies... Apple and Nike, a lot of big companies are pushing against it, [and] they're not going to admit it. Who's going to go out and lobbying in favor of slave labor? But this is their bottom line. They make a lot of money by making stuff by people that aren't paid to make it."

At the end of the day, he tweeted later, "They aren't blocking my China anti-slavery bill from being part of the defense bill because of some House rule. They are blocking it because major American corporations benefit from factories that use slave labor."

Schumer, meanwhile, called the reason for Rubio's objection -- protecting a defenseless people who are being systematically raped, sodomized, electrocuted, beaten, and imprisoned -- "absurd." "If his amendment were on the bill, it would automatically kill the bill," he threatened. "[It's a] poison pill."

This is the new Democratic party -- a group of extremists willing to violently abuse millions of innocent men, women, and children for cheaper sneakers and phones. A group of people who would tell Chinese detectives like Jiang to "keep whipping them until they're bruised and swollen," until they "kneel on the floor crying." A group of people who think it's okay for communist monsters to gang rape teenage boys or taking a wrecking bar to pregnant moms. That's the brutal reality for innocent people like Omir Bekali, who can't go to sleep without thinking of being strung up in chains. Saving them, protecting them is "absurd?" What has happened to America?

As upset as conservatives are about the Uyghurs' treatment, Senator Tom Cotton (R-Ark.) has never thought the bill was good enough for our troops to begin with. "It doesn't deliver on what they deserve," he argued on "Washington Watch." "It's just an example of what a poor floor leader Chuck Schumer has proved to be..." The two sides haven't even had a debate about key parts of the bill like drafting America's daughters. "Our amendment to strip out the provision that requires women to register for the draft -- and potentially face combat arms roles... Schumer hasn't allowed any of that."

Meanwhile, the American people have sent over 200,000 emails to Congress after FRC sounded the alarm on women in the draft. (If you haven't contacted your senators, you still can here.) That alone is more than enough reason to slam the brakes on this proposal. The other problems -- from the Uyghurs to Afghanistan and on down -- only add fuel to the Republicans' fire. "I think Americans back home are smart enough to understand that our service members deserve more," Senator Jim Inhofe (R-Okla.) said. "They deserve to be our priority in the Senate, and we need to show them that by providing a robust and open debate on the annual defense bill."